United States Champion, Intercontinental Champion, World Tag Team Champion and World Heavyweight Champion. Not to mention one of the young rising stars in the WWE.
Nick Nemeth, known by his WWE character Dolph Ziggler, has represented the city of Cleveland very well on such a huge stage.
The 31-year-old St. Edward and Kent State product has been wrestling since the age of 5 and has had success at every level on his road to the WWE.
From holding the school record for most pins in a career with 82 in high school to having 121 career wins between 2000 and 2003 at Kent State, Nemeth has brought that excellence to millions each week across the country.
The political science major and pre-law minor college graduate was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference champion, winning the 165 lb tournament in 2000, 2002, and 2003, and is the last wrestler from the university to have won three amateur wrestling championships.
With WWE's 'Monday Night RAW' coming to Cleveland on March 12, I had the chance to speak with Nemeth about growing up in Lakewood and being a huge Cleveland sports fan. We also discussed his career and his dream Wrestlemania opponent.
Being a Cleveland sports fan all his life:
"I went to them all. The Cavaliers used to play at the Richfield Coliseum and I actually went to say them when I was a little kid. Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, all those guys. We used to have to drive 40 minutes to get out there just to see a Cleveland game. It was fun, we used to make a whole day out of it going to see the Cavs or even a WWE show. Always a big fan of the Browns, of course. No wonder how bad they lost or how much we froze to death out there, we still went to the games to watch them lose."
Possibly throwing out the first-pitch at an Indians like his Cleveland counterpart, The Miz:
"Every summer I look back to getting there a couple times and seeing a couple games. If you saw The Miz throw it, it's kind of like a little girl or little boy throwing the ball for the first time. Kind of like me throwing left-handed. You would see a real athlete do well and make the city proud, the city I'm actually from, Cleveland, even though he (The Miz) is not. Couldn't wait and be more happy to do it. I'd love to be on the field for Browns game too. Fan of all the Cleveland sports teams, but I'm more pro-Browns than anyone."
Being a Cavs fan, would you take LeBron James back?:
"I heard a rumor that he's possibly coming back. I don't know. I forgive and forget. Also, I have a really bad memory, I used to fall down a lot. He gave it a long try and it didn't work out. If he is looking to come back, I think he went about leaving the wrong way if he is looking to come back to this town. Even though we are more than happy to do well and have a hometown kid, when you kind of kick us in the crotch and leave town, it's hard to come back in. We are also very forgiving because for 25 years we sat through Browns games and always stood by them. I'm sure we will give him a second chance. Going to take some boos, but that's what happens when you punch us in the stomach and walk away."
When did you know you wanted to be a WWE Superstar?:
"The Richfield Coliseum show I mentioned before, featuring Hulk Hogan vs. Harley Race in 1984 or 85. My dad took me, I was five years old. We saw that show and I told him 'can I start wrestling?'. Two months later, he signed me up for wrestling. Just once or twice a week. But at five years old, I started and I never stopped. All the way through high school and college. I still go back around Christmas and wrestle around with the St. Edward guys sometimes. Been a huge fan all my life. I'm living my dream and I continue to do every single day."
On competing in his first Elimination Chamber match a couple weeks ago:
"Yeah, it was my first time. At least that's what I told her. Honestly, that thing is crazy. I like to go above and beyond. I never give less than 100%. But that thing hurt like hell. I tried to sacrifice every ounce of my body to somehow stay in it all the way and ended up coming up a little short. But at least The Miz was out there. So at least he wasn't in a gym or wrestling school somewhere, we know he was in that match."
On changing his entrance theme from "I Am Perfection" to "Here To Show The World":
"You know what, I'm out there to give 100% and I do what I think is best. I really don't care what other people think. I know a lot of people like that song. I liked that song. I'm done being perfection. I still do on a day-to-day basis, I just don't need to let everyone know about it. I'm 'Here to Show the World' is simply put, every single night when I go out there, I steal the show. I do what I do best and that's take it away from every one else. And when everyone else goes to Wrestlemania to see Rock vs. Cena, there going to leave knowing I stole the show."
Changing his hair color from blonde to brown and back to blonde:
"Well, I was watching a lot of I.R.S. and Brooklyn Brawler tapes at the time. I really liked the way they closed-out matches. I got a little over-zealous and thought I could still be myself and kind of portray people I'm huge fans of. And obviously you got to go out there and stick with what you know and what you are. I got to be myself. So long, blonde hair bouncing around and taking care of business in the ring. I knew it was a little bit of a mistake. But without valleys, there's no peaks. So, you got to go down to go up. I learned a lesson to just be myself out there."
His dream Wrestlemania opponent:
"Shawn Michaels, 1997. That's someone who could actually hang with me for 60 minutes, Iron Man Match. Let everyone know who is the best ever, not just best in the world who puts it on a t-shirt or shows up for six months a year. But someone on the roster right now, it would be Tyson Kidd. Me and him go out there and tear it up. Show everyone what wrestling is really about. And still make them care. And have them come away knowing that's the best match they have ever seen."
Coming back and competing in Cleveland:
"Yes, it’s always great to go back there. I have a lot of friends, a lot of fans. A lot of people who hate me from high school and college that I stole their girlfriends from or whatever the deal is. Either way, there are people reacting because they know me. I love going back to Cleveland. I like to go out there and let everyone know that I’m representing Cleveland when I go out in the ring and put on the best match of the night."